In 2009, number of ethanol jobs fell with price

The number of jobs in Minnesota's ethanol industry fell sharply last year.

The Minnesota Agriculture Department said there were about 6,900 ethanol-related jobs in 2009, down about 20 percent from the previous year.

Agriculture Department Economist Su Ye said the decline was caused by falling revenue in the industry.

"The prices of ethanol actually was lower for that year. So that affected the total production output and also the employment numbers," she said. "This year is looking better."

She said the state's ethanol industry in 2010 should recover most of the jobs it lost last year.

Minnesota's 21 ethanol plants are expected to produce just over a billion gallons of ethanol this year. To do that, the industry will use almost a third of the state's corn crop.

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